When A Game of Hoops Becomes A Death Sentence

When does it end?

Seemingly everyday I find myself shaking my head over the latest news about young people dying. So young,  so much life left in them yet cut down so senselessly. They are victims of a culture that has come to regard human life as having little value and the taking of a life has become some kind of badge of manliness.

Yesterday (Monday), 24-year old Ronald Guevara of Wayne, a Detroit suburb, lost his life after playing a game of pickup basketball. Nobody yet knows what really transpired except an argument ensued following a game of street hoops. Does it really matter what the argument was about? Was it worth costing a man his life?

Guevara died in his mother’s arms after being fatally wounded by a single shot to his head. His mother earlier, after seeing that tensions were escalating, told a group of 7-8 people that included her son, to go and fight it out one-on-one.  But it did not end there. According to newspaper reports, her son was chased into the family’s two-flat apartment and Guevara was shot on the porch.

The thugs who shot Guevara scattered like cockroaches, but Ronald lay mortally wounded. His blood now soaking the anguished arms of his grief-stricken mother. 

“It was a simple fight. It was over some stupid basketball game,” said Mrs. Guevara who now must bury a son.

If this was only an isolated incident you could dimiss it. But this was just the latest in a string of brutally violent deaths that have been visited upon Detroit area youth.

Another senseless slaying occurred recently when a 14-year old Detroit youth, angered over the fact that somebody had the audacity to paint over his gang grafitti, chased down the person he thought had committed the heinous act. When the assailant tried to enter the house, a 13-year old had the misfortune of stepping between the killer and his intended target and took the bullet, dying instantly. Dying over a few streams of painted concrete.

But the most horrifying of the youth fatalities occurred February 23 when two young boys, Darren Johnson, 11 and 13-year old Orlando Herron were killed execution style in a botched robbery in a suspected drug house in Detroit. Why the boys were in the drug house is a matter of conjecture at this time. They may have been used as drug couriers, but that is really not the point as much as here were two boys who probably had little or no chance at a normal youthful life and had no adult direction.

Tied up and frightened while the house was being torn apart by lowlifes who had invaded the home in the drug-induced belief that the drug dealer, whom they had tied up, placed in the trunk of their car and driven him to the house, had $100,000 stashed away at the home. The boys were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Several people are being held in the boys’ murder and if one of the suspects is to be believed, the actual killing was carried out by a woman, Sonya O’Neal, who yelled at one of her cohorts “Shoot them!” but when Charles Moore was allegedly unable to bring himself to kill the boys, O’Neal grabbed the gun and fired point blank into the head of each child, killing them instantly.  Such bravery.

So there we have it. A month of youthful carnage. It’s a sad, sad commentary on our society and the loss of value we have on human life.

This may make me sound old, but when we were kids, if we had a disagreement, somebody usually got socked in the eye or the gut at the worst, and by the next day all was forgotten.

But for today’s youth there is no next day. Only days of anguish and planning of funerals for those left behind to deal with such tragedy.


Explore posts in the same categories: Murder, Youth Violence

2 Comments on “When A Game of Hoops Becomes A Death Sentence”

  1. Joanie Says:

    Great article. So what are we to do. Everyone is good at stating the problem. What we need is someone to state the solution.
    Good ol’ Les

  2. Mike Richmond Says:

    Great article Dave. I have been following the Darren Johnson and Orlando Herron story from the very beginning. I have yet to read a single story in the Lansing newspaper or see a single story on a Lansing TV station, but luckily I have access to the Detroit News and Free Press online. The thing that gets me is that all of the assailants in this crime have criminal records. Are these the kind of “non-violent drug offenders” that Granholm wants to release? Scary stuff that people would commit such horrific crimes against children.

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